Sports

One-on-one with Ottawa Fury FC coach

By Phil Cottrell, Daily Observer

Phil Cottrell

Phil Cottrell

Marc Dos Santos is the head coach for the professional soccer club, Ottawa Fury FC. The team commences play in the NASL (North American Soccer League), in April. Born in Montreal, Dos Santos is best known for leading the Montreal Impact to the United Soccer Leagues (USL) first division title in his first year at the helm. Dos Santos joins Fury FC after spending the last two years coaching in Brazil. After coaching the U-20 team of FC Primeira Camisa, the Montreal native was invited to join SE Palmeiras, one of the most successful clubs in Brazilian football, where he coached the U-15 team to their first ever national Brazilian Championship.

Dos Santos returns to the NASL where he was one of the original eight coaches in 2011 with the Montreal Impact. Dos Santos holds a UEFA (Union of European Football Associations) 'A' licence and has had internships in Brazil with Luiz Felipe Scolari (The Brazilian head coach) at SE Palmeiras, in England with Chelsea FC and at Portuguese clubs FC Porto, Boavista FC and SC Beira Mar. The Canadian-born Dos Santos holds both Canadian and Portuguese citizenships and is fluent in English, French, Portuguese and Spanish.

I recently sat down with Marc in the Fury offices in Ottawa.

Phil: You have, so far, signed 17 players. How do you go about recruiting and signing players?

Marc: The most important factor is that the players have to fit the model that we have created for the team. The model is everything. They need to be all-round players, well balanced and need to be able to play different positions. They need to fit into the system of play which is essentially a 4-3-3 formation and they need to be able to identify clearly how and when to go from defence to offence (and vica versa). The players need be able to understand the type of identity we want as a team in these different situations. Also they need to understand our philosophy of the game.

The players need to be truly soccer people, and of course, behaviors are very important, as well as personality and character.

In terms of searching for players, we have data bases as well as many contacts, plus European agents and African agents who we can work with. Naturally, also, there is a budget to work with.

Phil: What size roster are you working towards?

Marc: Ideally, I would like to have two players for each position, with the exception of goalies where I would like to have three. This results in a roster of 22 to 23 players. Likely this would be 20 in the spring season and possibly 24 in the fall season. We should keep a couple of spots open for the fall season. I'm hoping that we do not essentially need to have to get better as team during this June break. But importantly, as a team, we need to have depth and we need to have players, as I mentioned earlier, who can play different position and box to box players.

Phil: You seem to putting together a strong team.

Marc: I did not say it was a strong team.

Phil: Alright, a potentially strong team

Marc: Well, yes, individually we may have some strong players, but they all have to gel as a team, and that is my prime job right now and it is the phase we are moving into. I am very happy with the players that we now have. Bear in mind some of our players come from different backgrounds and different countries, so there is indeed work that needs to be done here. Also don't forget that some of these foreign players are used to taking team buses for a relatively short trips to play their matches. Here they have to get used to planes and significant traveling distances.

Phil: What are your realistic expectations for the first season?

Marc: We would like to surprise everybody and reach the semifinals of the Amyway (Canadian championship) Cup. I would also want that every team in the league has respect for us by the end of the 2014 season.

Phil: What will be your biggest challenge this season?

Marc: Essentially to make everybody gel and become a team. As I said, we have players from different places, different countries with different backgrounds ,cultures and languages. They have also been playing under different systems, different coaching methodologies, so they all have to come together now as a team.

Phil: What's next?

Marc: Training camp will be starting shortly. There will be some exhibition games at the our training facility, Complexe Branchaud-Brière in Gatineau. We will also have a number of team-building activities, including non-playing events such as public appearances for the players. It will not all be soccer, soccer, soccer. Training camp will run for four weeks in Gatineau before moving south to Florida on April 1, where we will continue training camp leading up to our season opener against the Fort Lauderdale Strikers on April 12.

Phil: Thank you Marc, and the very best of luck.

World Cup

England plays it's first World Cup game on June 14 in Manaus in the tropical part of Brazil.

"Like every city in the world, we have our problems, but despite what the article says, there are not poisonous snakes and tarantulas roaming around the streets and falling from the trees," said Arthur Virgilio, mayor of Manaus, Brazil, as he sets the record straight again after charming reports in Britain referred to the Amazon city that will host England as a "murderous hell-hole".

Brand partnerships?

Liverpool FC Foundation core vision: "Assist men and women across Liverpool to improve their health and well being by providing initiatives that promote a healthy, balanced lifestyle."

Liverpool FC commercial vision: "We're delighted to be joining forces with Dunkin' Brands, one of the world's most iconic names. Dunkin' Donuts will be our official coffee, tea and bakery provider, and Baskin-Robbins will be our official ice cream provider - we welcome both to the Liverpool FC family."

Tea and Pie anyone?

"Our Petrovsky stadium does not have the most comfortable infrastructure, unfortunately, especially in winter time. So we're going to give Borussia fans hot tea, and treat them to pirozhki". After being forced to close part of their stadium after the racist behaviour of their fans, Zenit St. Petersburg of Russia actually gave tea and pie to travelling Borussia Dortmund fans from Germany as they stood outside in the cold and dealt with all the extra security before going into the stadium.

Remember, whatever your sport, to win the game is great, to play the game is greater, but to love the game is the greatest of all. And be part of the soccer fan base world wide, 3.5 billion and counting! Also remember . . . support local soccer!

If you have any comments on the beautiful game please contact me via e-mail cottrell@nrtco.net or call 613-587-4856.


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